Death, Funerals & Cremation



Gone From My Sight

by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore.  A ship at my side
spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.  She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length, she hangs like a speck
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says,  "There, she is gone!"

“Gone where?”

Gone from my sight.  That is all.  She is just as large in mast,
hull and spar as she was when she left my side;
and, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me— not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone!"
There are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices
ready to take up the glad shout, “Here she comes!"

And that is dying...

Statistics
  • The death rate in Spokane County was 846 per 100,000 in 2013. The county rate was significantly higher than Washington state (742 per 100,000) and significantly increased from 2009 to 2013. The death rate varied by age and was higher among whites.

    The infant mortality rate was 5 per 1,000 live births in Spokane County in 2013, which was similar to Washington state. From 2009 to 2013, the infant mortality rate remained stable and infant mortality was more likely among infants with mothers who were non-white, had less than a high school education, and were on Medicaid.

    Life expectancy at birth remained stable from 2009 to 2013. Life expectancy in 2013 was 79 years overall, but was significantly lower among males. Asian/Pacific Islanders and Hispanics have a longer life expectancy when compared to whites.   (Spokane Counts 2015 report, Spokane Regional Health District)

  • DEATHS in the U.S.


    • Terrorism


      3,030 people were killed in domestic acts of terrorism inside the U.S. between 2001 and 2013.  In addition, 350 U.S. citizens were killed overseas as a result of incidents of terrorism from 2001 to 2013.  This brings the total to 3,380.  (U.S. State Department, CNN, October 2, 2015)


    • Vehicle Crashes


      33,000+ people are killed in traffic crashes each year.   (CBS Morning News, July 31, 2014)



      2,650 teens were killed in 2011 in the U.S., aged 16-19, and almost 292,000 were treated in emergency departments for injuries suffered in motor vehicle crashes.  That means that 7 teens ages 16-19 died every day of 2011 from motor vehicle injuries. (CDC.gov)




      1,921 people were killed in crashes involving a drunk driver from 2003-2012 in Washington, where sobriety checkpoints are not allowed.  In 2010, 112 million times drunk drivers admitted getting behind the wheel in the U.S..  (Sobering Facts:  Drunk Driving State Fact Sheets, CDC) 


    • Suicide
      

41,149 suicide deaths, or 13 per 100,000 population.  (Suicide and Self-Inflicted Injury, CDC, May 2013, http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/depression.htm)  

      NOTE:  The suicide rate is twice the homicide rate in the U.S.

  8,030 Veterans take their own lives every year (or 22/day) - a suicide every 65 minutes.  As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher.  Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called the suicide rate among service members an epidemic.  (Dept. of Veterans Affairs and Moni Basu, “Why suicide rate among veterans may be more than 22 a day,” CNN, November 14, 2013)  


    • Murder / homicide


      16,121 people died from homicide in 2013, and 11,208 of those were from firearm homicides.  (Assault or Homicide, CDC FastStats for 2013)  



      135 police officers died in the line of duty in 2016;
      and of those, 64 officers were killed in firearm-related incidents; and those shooting deaths also included 21 deaths in ambush-style shootings.  128 officers were killed in the line of duty in 2015.  126 were killed in 2014; and 20 K9s also died in the line of duty that year, including 5 that were shot and 2 that were stabbed. According to NLEOMF data, in the 1970's, an average of 231 officers died each year.  In the 1980's, the number who died each year never dipped below 175. 

      National figures on the number of Americans shot and killed by police are not compiled by any government agency.  However, according to The Washington Post, about 955 people were shot and killed by police in 2016.  937 justifiable homicides by law enforcement occurred in 2015.  (Source:  National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, "Number of Police Officers Killed by Firearms Rose in 2016, Study Finds," NPR, December 30, 2016; Officer Down Memorial Page; Bureau of Justice Statistics 2015 and The Washington Post)

    • Drug and Alcohol overdose



      53,000 people died from overdoses of opiates
      in 2016.  During the entire Vietnam War, 53,000 people died.  Most people do not realize the magnitude of this problem. (“The Doctor is In,” Dr. Toby Cosgrove, Cleveland Clinic President & CEO, CBS This Morning, March 31, 2017)

      40,393 drug-induced deaths
      were reported in 2010.  These include causes directly involving drugs, such as accidental poisoning or overdose; but do not include accidents, homicides, AIDS, and other causes indirectly related to drugs.  There is a drug-induced death in the U.S. every 13 minutes.  (Consequences of Illicit Drug Uses in America, Fact Sheet, Office of National Drug Control Policy, Office of the President of the U.S., April 2014)



      29,001 alcohol-induced deaths were reported in 2013.   (Alcohol Use, CDC 2013 report)


    • Medical Errors
      251,000 lives are claimed due to medical errors every year, the 3rd leading cause of death in the U.S. 
      (National Center for Health Statistics, BMJ, "Researchers: Medical errors now 3rd leading cause of death in the United States," by Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post, May 3, 2016) 

    • Smoking 


      480,000 deaths are attributed to cigarette smoking each year in the U.S., including nearly 42,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure.  This is about l in 5 deaths annually, or 1,300 deaths every day.  One in every 13 Americans aged 17 years or younger who are alive today, is expected to die prematurely fro a smoking-related illness.  On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers.  (Smoking and Tobacco Use, Diseases and Death, CDC, 2015)

    • Drowning


      The death rate
      for unintentional drowning in Spokane County was 1.9 per 100,000 in 2013, which was similar to Washington state.  (Spokane Counts 2015 report, Spokane Regional Health District)   



    • Children's deaths
      

40 children die each year from being left inside hot cars.  A baby can die in 10 minutes from heat stroke when left inside a hot car parked in the shade in 80 degree weather.   Never leave your child alone in a car.  (Backseat Tragedies, CBS Morning News, July 31, 2014)



      Nearly 1 child or teen is injured by a fire arm every hour in this country.  7,391 children are hospitalized with gun injuries every year.  453 of those children died at the hospital in 2009.  Many of these injuries happen in the home, where the gun safety is left unlocked.  One in 3 homes in America have a gun, and 1.7 children live in a home with an unlocked and loaded firearm.   Parents should ask the adults in the homes where their children play, if they have any guns in the house, and if they are locked and put away.  (Kids and Guns: By the Numbers, Lauren Pearle via 20/20, Nightline, World News, Yale University, Journal of Pediatrics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and ABC News, David Muir and Diane Sawyer, January 29, 2014)

      


Accidental drowning is the leading cause of death among children 4 and under, and the 2nd leading cause for children under 15.   (CDC, CBS Morning News, Aug. 1, 2014)






    • 

People who Die without a Will
      78% of people
      in America die without a Will.  People who die without a Will or Trust leave their family with unnecessary confusion and possible inaccessibility to needed funds at a difficult time, as estates must be probated, accounts frozen, lawyers hired, etc.

What You Can Do
  • Talk with family members about preparing a Will, and let everyone know where it is located.
  • Take your family to Church regularly, where they will learn to understand that death is a part of life.  This will help ease the pain of loss and accept the death of animals, friends and relatives, knowing there truly is life after death.
  • Become an organ donor by choosing that option on your driver’s license.  About 1,000 people in the Pacific NW are waiting for a transplant, and 90,000 people are waiting nationally.

  • Burying the poor and homeless.  We can learn a great lesson from the actions of others.  In Louisville, Kentucky, there is a civil servant who has devoted his life to burying the poor and homeless.  After retiring as a police captain, Buddy Domeier sought out a job with the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office.  Specifically, he wanted the job burying Louisville's poor and homeless. For years, these people had been buried, unceremoniously, in a potter's field. You can tell by the grave markers how the county couldn't have cared less.

    "There had to be a better way," Dumeyer says. "When you and I come into this world, we have a mom and dad, loving arms around us, people taking care of us. When we leave this world, when we give people back, we don't want to give them back alone."

    To that end, Buddy now makes sure no funeral in Louisville is ever unattended. He has teamed up with three local high schools to provide volunteers, not only for carrying the casket, but for mourning the loss.  At the beginning of every service, Buddy tells the kids what he knows about the deceased. And by the end, they kids say they do care, much more -- not only about the person who died, but about the living, as well.

    "It's just so humbling," says Jackie Arnold, a Xavier High School student. "It’s just so humbling.  It makes you appreciate what you have and the family that you're blessed with."

    "Every human life is worth the same," says student Patrick Mohr. "No one person should be left behind, I guess."

    That's a sentiment no one appreciates more than the people who get buried here.  We know that, because every once in awhile a friend or relative shows up at the service.  Lily Dalton met Art Adams at a dance last year. He was down on his luck, but she got to know him, learned about his cancer, and talked about his death.  "He would love (this attention at his funeral)," Lily says of Art's funeral. "He would absolutely have loved it. Because he thought nobody would be here. He was so afraid of that."  Buddy says it's a fear shared by many indigent people.  Although now, it's a fear unfounded.     (“On the Road with Steve Hartman,” CBS Evening News, July 26, 2013) 

Local Organizations
Additional Resources

Forget Me Not Program
101 W 8th Ave. Spokane
509-474-3131    
Sacred Heart Hospital   (509) 474-4059
forgetmenot@shmc.org
http://washington.providence.org/donate/providence-health-care-foundation-eastern-wa/programs-funded/forget-me-not/
Compassionate support to grieving families who have  suffered the loss of a baby. 

Men's Grief Support Group

(sponsored by Hospice of Spokane)
121 S. Arthur St
Spokane, WA
(509) 456-0438
http://www.hospiceofspokane.org 

SIDS Foundation of Washington
P O Box 7638 Spokane
509-456-0505
liz Montgomery
http://www.sidsofwa.org